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If you love MMA, buying a ticket to go and personally witness one of the sport’s big fights can give you one of the most memorable evenings of your life.
There’s nothing quite like the spine-tingling roar of the crowd when you experience it from within. The terror and excitement of being present as history is made in a sport where almost anything can happen is worth every penny of the ticket price.
If you’ve finally decided to attend your first MMA fight or you just want a few tips to make the whole thing go smoother, our MMA ticket guide will help you get the best fight experience money can buy.
Best Places To Sit
The price of a ticket to a UFC fight depends on the location of the seat. In general, the most expensive tickets have the best views, although there are some exceptions.
In this section, we’ll talk about the different seating options at UFC fights. We’ll discuss the basic pros and cons of each area and talk about how it might feel to experience a fight from each section. We’ll get into what kind of people and atmosphere to expect around you as well as how the angle from your location might affect your line of sight.
Seating arrangements at MMA events are generally divided into five main areas.
If you like feeling like you’re right in the middle of the action, the rows of seats closest to the cage are the best place to be. Cage-side seats generally include the first 10 or so rows just beyond the edges of the octagon. To fight fans, this is considered the best spot in the arena.
Then you buy a ticket to a cage-side seat, you’ll be just a few feet away from the fight itself. That means you’ll be able to hear the bone-rattling crack of each punch and kick. You’ll hear the competitors’ corners shouting instructions at them, and you may even be able to catch the things the fighters say to each other.
These are the most coveted seats for high-profile attendees. You’ll probably be surrounded by fight promoters and journalists covering the event. If celebrities are attending, they’ll most likely be seated in the most prominent cage-side rows. If you’re lucky, you’ll even be able to mingle with MMA royalty like coaches, other fighters and their inner circles.
Some of the most important MMA events don’t even make tickets to cage-side seats available to the general public. If they are available, these best seats in the house won’t come cheap. You may have to pony up a small fortune to watch a fight from this privileged perch.
One downside is that your line of sight will be around the floor level of the cage. MMA octagons in official competitions are generally built on an elevated platform. They look kind of like an eight-sided above-ground pool. When you sit down, your eyes will be at about the height of the fighters’ feet, so you may feel like you’re looking up the entire time.
Additionally, if things get exciting, the crowd might rise to its feet. Since cage-side seats are right on the floor instead of on the riser platform, your view might get blocked by people standing up in front of you. You can usually get around this by standing up yourself.
• These seats are as close as you can get
• You’ll feel the fight in your bones
• You may be able to mingle with celebrities and MMA royalty
• Get ready to spend a lot of money
• Your line of sight will be a bit low
• Impassioned audience members may stand and block your view
As the name implies, this section is at floor level like the cage-side seats. Floor seats are just a little bit farther away than the cage-side area, so while you’ll still be closer than the riser seats, you won’t feel like you’re in the inner circle.
If you’re not able to get a cage-side seat for whatever reason, a floor seat might be your next best option. You’ll be close enough to still hear a lot of the sounds of the fights, even though there will be more audience members between you and the cage.
On the downside, if things get exciting and people begin to stand up, you may find yourself with a worse view than the first row of riser seats. On top of that, some of the largest oval-shaped arenas have floor seats at the extreme ends of the oval that are farther away from the cage than the centered seats in the first few rows of the risers.
Always try to find your section, row and seat on the map of the arena before confirming your booking. This will help you make sure you’re getting the closest line of sight for your money.
• These seats are still amazingly close to the fights
• Higher possibility of standing people blocking your view
• You may be able to find better views for better prices in the first few riser rows
First-Tier Risers: Centers
Since most arenas that host the largest MMA events are shaped like an oval, there’s an important distinction between center areas and corner areas. There’s also a smaller difference between the major axis and the minor axis of the oval.
The cage will always be in the middle of the oval. The closest tiered seats will be along the minor axis, and the farthest tiered seats will be in the corner areas. The minor axis describes the middle of the two long sides of the oval. The major axis runs along the middle of the oval’s two shorter sides, which are farther away from the center. In most arenas, seats in the centers of the longer sides are closer to the action than seats along the major axis.
These centered first-tier seats are usually the most expensive of the riser seats. You can expect the price of these seats to rise the closer they are to the cage.
The first few rows at the bottom of the risers are practically at the same eye level as the fighters. If you can’t get cage-side seats, the front row of riser seats are often the best available option. You’ll not only have a clear view of the fights themselves but also of the fighters’ walkouts, exits and pre-fight preparations.
If you prefer a higher line of sight, you may prefer a center seat a few rows up. Remember, the higher your row, the smaller the fighters will look to you and the less you may be able to make out their movements.
• Your line of sight will be level with or above the cage, giving you some of the arena’s best viewpoints
• Standing fans won’t block your view
• In large arenas, some centered first-tier seats are closer than some floor seats
• Most centered first-tier seats are farther than most floor seats
First-Tier Risers: Corners
Corner seats in the first tier are usually cheaper than centered ones. You’ll be farther away from the fights, and there may be structural or broadcasting obstructions blocking part of your view. The bigger the fight you’re attending, the bigger the arena will probably be, which could exacerbate the corner distance even more.
Since there are usually fewer people in the corner seats, if any viewing obstructions are necessary, they tend to be placed close to the corners. If there are pillars or scaffolding partially blocking the view of certain seats, most arenas will list the view as limited or partially obstructed so you can make an informed decision.
During some events that merit a lot of coverage, the videographers will use cameras mounted on long mechanical arms to get crowd shots and bird’s-eye views. In these cases, the mechanical arms will likely be anchored to corner positions and may occasionally get in your way.
On the upside, unlike boxing events, MMA fights are usually held in an octagon-shaped cage. This means that there aren’t usually bad corner angles like you might see in a rectangular boxing ring.
• Your elevated viewpoint won’t be blocked by standing audience members
• Corner seats are usually the cheapest first-tier seats
• Your view may be blocked by pillars or camera arms
• The highest first-tier corner seats in large arenas might not have enough view to be worth the price
Second-Tier Risers: Nose Bleeds
Usually only the biggest fights in the biggest venues have a second tier of rising seats above the first. Again, the bigger the arena, the farther away these seats will be. The good news is that you can often get amazing deals on second-tier tickets.
Way up here in the nose bleeds, the fights may look like Lego action. It can be hard to see exactly what each fighter is doing.
You won’t hear any fight sounds, just audience noise. You probably won’t be able to hear whether or not a blow actually landed, but you’ll usually be able to tell by the reactions from the fighter and the crowd. In the worst case, you’ll always be able to see the details along with all the instant replays on the arena's giant screens.
Tickets to second-tier seats are usually more about celebrating the electricity in the air rather than actually watching the fights. Second tiers are often filled with fun-loving people who come for the party and historic atmosphere.
Just like in the first tier, closer rows have slightly better views than farther ones. Centers are also better than corners.
• If you like just being there, you can get great deals on these seats
• Party atmosphere
• Hard to see fight details
Ticket pricing is based on the section the seat is in as well as how close to the cage it is within that section. Center seats are also usually a bit cheaper than corner seats at a similar distance. Of course, different individual events may choose different pricing scales for each section.
Besides the above factors, the price of a ticket to an MMA fight may also fluctuate with the following two factors
How many people want to go to a fight will usually depend on the popularity of the fighters. Matches between celebrity competitors will draw many more people and skyrocket ticket prices. That means fights between technical fighters with fewer mainstream fans can often be cheap, rewarding steals for hardcore MMA lovers.
Tickets to see local fighters compete will also often be cheaper than bigger-ticket international events. International fighters often bring large followings with them, which can inflate seat pricing.
According to the news reports we looked at, MMA fights held in widely known cities like New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas tend to break records for their high ticket prices. Smaller cities and big cities in smaller countries usually charge much less per seat.
It’s possible that this pricing difference has nothing to do with the cities themselves. Maybe bigger-ticket fighters feel more drawn to fight on bigger stages, which are generally in the biggest cities in the US. Either way, if you’re attending a fight in one of the USA’s largest cities, expect to pay a lot more than usual for your ticket.
How To Buy MMA/UFC Tickets
The four most important ways you can buy a ticket to an MMA event include:
• On your favorite ticket site
• On a resale site
• At the door
• VIP tickets
Your Favorite Ticket Site
Most MMA ticket sales happen online. To give you a general idea, Ticketmaster usually posts tickets on their site around a month and a half before the date of the event.
For many UFC fights, you can get first access to tickets by subscribing to the UFC Fight Club’s premium levels. If you’re a member of their Elite and Ultimate tiers, you can buy tickets to most UFC events two full days before they open sales to the public.
If you want early access without paying extra, you can subscribe to the UFC’s official newsletter. Newsletter readers get a chance to buy event tickets one day before everyone else.
When tickets finally do become available to the general public, the most popular events usually sell out pretty quickly. Smaller fights take longer but often still eventually fill up.
You can find tickets to the majority of UFC and Bellator fights in most arenas around the world on Ticketmaster, Eventim and AXS. A few of the sites we’ll discuss below in the resale section have also recently started selling original tickets. Last of all, smaller arenas may have their own sites where they sell tickets exclusively.
When you buy a ticket online, you can generally opt to get it via email or receive a paper copy in the mail. If you don’t want to wait, you can print out the email and bring it to the fight as your ticket. If you prefer paperless, you can just let security at the arena scan the code in the email straight from your phone.
The top MMA events usually inspire a bustling market for secondhand tickets. These started around unfortunate coincidences where people who bought a ticket had an unexpected emergency that conflicted with the event date. Secondhand sites let these people sell the tickets they can no longer use to others who weren’t able to get a firsthand ticket.
Unfortunately, many ticket resale sites have been gamed by professional resellers who buy as many firsthand tickets as they can just to resell them at premium prices. These sites often contribute to massive ticket price inflation, so most MMA fans dislike them but tolerate them grudgingly. If you want to buy a last-minute ticket to a fight and money isn’t an issue for you, a resale site may be your best option.
One situation where you may be able to game people who game the system is when tickets for an event aren’t selling as well as expected. Faced with low event attendance, secondhand ticket middlemen often drastically cut their prices to reduce their losses. You may be able to find an opportunity on a secondhand site to get a better location for a lower price than a firsthand site.
StubHub is probably the most popular resale site right now. You can also find great ticket aggregation sites that compile ticket information from various resale sites in one place to help you find the best deal available.
One pitfall to watch for with resale sites is that they often tack on a huge buyer’s fee during your checkout. This fee can go as much as 2 – 20% above the original marked price of the ticket. Sites usually attribute this extra fee to demand or location but are somehow unable to tell you about it before you check out.
One last note is that if for some reason an event is selling paper tickets only, you probably won’t be able to find one on a resale site at the last minute. Paper tickets usually become unavailable on secondhand sites a few days before the event. We recommend planning ahead with paper-only events.
At the Door
For many non-celebrity MMA events, you may still be able to find tickets at the arena’s in-person box office the day of the fight. If you don’t think an event will sell out, you’ll probably be fine taking your chances and showing up to buy a ticket at the door.
It’s probably still a good idea to at least check ticket availability online ahead of time, especially if you’ll be traveling a long distance to attend the fight. You should be able to see how easy it is to find a first- or secondhand ticket online and judge from that whether or not the event looks like it will sell out.
Unless you have a good reason not to, we recommend you try to buy your ticket online beforehand. You’ll usually have a lot more seats to pick from and a lot more peace of mind. The ticket will arrive in your email inbox almost instantly, and if you have a good phone, you probably won’t even need to print it out.
If either money is not an issue to you or you plan to celebrate a special occasion, you might want to think about buying a VIP ticket. VIP tickets generally come with a cage-side seat, lots of free snacks and unlimited drinks from the arena’s private bar.
The great view is probably the biggest draw of getting a VIP ticket, but you’ll also get to bypass all the long lines and skip the other little hassles that are part and parcel of many large events. At bigger shows, the other VIPs will usually be celebrities, athletes and the inner circles of the fighters.
You’ll get sweeping access to all the interesting sub-events like the official weigh-ins, fighter meet and greets and VIP parties with the Octagon Girls. You may even get a chance to go on a behind-the-scenes tour of the event or take photos holding the title belt.
Of course, all this special treatment comes at a high price. A VIP ticket to a high-profile fight can be priced in the same ballpark as a new car. Even smaller or local events can end up charging up to three times the price of a regular floor seat for VIP access.
When should I arrive?
MMA fight cards can take a long time. Many of the biggest events start letting people in five or six hours before the scheduled time of the headlining fight.
The preliminary cards usually feature talented new fighters without much experience or veteran fighters who have been on a recent losing streak. Early fights can be messy, but they usually bring a lot of energy, and you can often see some spectacular knockouts and submissions.
In general, the fights are organized in order of importance. The higher the fighters are ranked, the later in the card they’ll usually be. Although the idea is to save the best action for last, new fighter energy often turns this idea on its head.
On the other hand, if you’re not a hardcore MMA fan, it may be difficult to sit through six hours of fights, walkouts and waits. If several preliminary fights finish fast, you may have to wait through a lot of downtime between fights as the organizers try to keep things on schedule.
For most people, three or four hours of MMA is probably plenty. If there’s a specific undercard fight you’re dying to watch, you can generally get a good estimate online of when it will start, but you may want to plan to arrive 30 minutes to an hour earlier just in case.
Remember, you’ll probably have to wait in line, go through security and then begin the long trek through the arena to find your seat. If you want to grab a drink or a snack, you may have to suffer through another long line or two. Give yourself plenty of extra time to make sure you catch the first fight you want to watch.
Is alcohol allowed?
MMA fans can be a fun bunch. If you want to drink alcohol, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding beer or liquor. Be prepared to cue up for a good, long while if the event you’re attending is full.
If drinking isn’t your thing, you don’t have to worry. There are plenty of fans who prefer watching the fights sober.
Are MMA events safe?
While MMA has certainly seen its rowdy years, the sport has been in the mainstream for a long time now. Most fighters and fans behave, even with all the adrenaline and alcohol. In a worst-case scenario, the arena’s security team is usually capable of removing troublemakers and restoring order quickly.
You may have seen videos on social media of huge brawls erupting between fans at MMA events, but most of those unfortunate interruptions took place before the sport hit the mainstream. Teams of fans backing rival fighters have gotten unruly in the past, but it’s been many years since fans attending an MMA event have gotten into these kinds of altercations.
MMA is a sport for adults, and most big MMA events don’t allow entrance to people who are under 18 years old. The late scheduling and presence of alcohol makes the environment a bit like a nightclub, which is generally not suitable for children and teenagers.
What if one of the main fights is postponed or canceled?
If a fighter from the main or co-main event gets injured or can’t fight for some reason, your ticket provider may give you the option of refunding your ticket.
MMA events usually won’t get canceled even if one of the top fighters has to pull out. The fighter may be replaced or the next fight will move up a spot.
If you’ll be traveling to watch the fight, try to book flexible or refundable accommodations and travel tickets in case you need to cancel.